Which Celtics are most likely to be traded this offseason?
Last night the NBA postseason officially wrapped up with the Warriors knocking off the Cavs in Game 6. Bostonians can finally shift their focus to what's next for our team. The all-encompassing question many fans are asking is, who will be dealt away this summer?
As it stands, Boston has a roster filled with young guys and no definitive stars. The closest thing to star talent they have is point guard Isaiah Thomas, who is also assisting Danny Ainge in the offseason recruitment process. Given his contributions to the team off and on the court, one could argue Thomas as the least likely piece to be traded.
Rookie combo guard Marcus Smart was wildly impressive pressuring the ball, even earning a couple votes to be on the second NBA All-Defensive Team. His innate, instinctual play on this end combined with intensity and confidence on either side of the ball indicate he may be a formidable player for years to come. Smart is as close to untouchable as any other guy on the roster including IT.
However, with cap space, trade exceptions and a plethora of draft picks, anyone could be on the chopping block for the right price. This very much includes both Smart and Isaiah.
According to CBS Boston's Brian Robb, big men Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger are up for evaluation despite the potentiality of developing into a promising frontcourt. Sully's weight issues ended up keeping him off the court for the last half of the season until Ainge decided to give him the "OK" to go in the playoff series against Cleveland. His unprecedented return the the lineup raised questions about Ainge's motive and Sully's future in green.
Olynyk's issues were palpable mostly on the defensive end where he struggled bodying bigger guys and moving his feet to keep up with quicker players. Despite averaging only 22.2 minutes per game last season, K.O. cracked the top 20 in fouls landing at spot 19 with 213. It's only his second season in the league and he did have some issues with injuries, but at 24 years old how much higher does his ceiling go? He was difficult to watch on defense. Kelly is skilled offensively, but he lacks the confidence and aggression to display said skill on a consistent basis.
The other interesting trade prospect could be wing James Young. At only 20 years old, Young's season consisted of seemingly weekly call-ups only to be quickly assigned back to the Maine Red Claws. On the hardwood, fans were able to see right away that he has a really nice shot and is athletic. The problem with James was his defense, particularly off the ball; to me, the way he tended to lose his man on backdoor cuts and screens was eerily reminiscent to when everyone tagged James Harden as an awful perimeter defender.
In addition to the youngsters listed above, as Celtics fans collectively know, anyone and everyone will be examined in different scenarios to get the team contending again. And no one, not even Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart or fan favorite Avery Bradley is untouchable.
Top photo via Matt Stone, Boston Herald
Bottom photo via Jim Davis, Boston Globe